When a business creates its annual strategic plan, its leaders generally dedicate a month or two to identifying its goals and outlining what tactics they’ll use to achieve them. I use this analogy to let you know that even if you don’t realize it, you’re in business, too. You’re in the business of creating your new life!
When it comes to your reinvention, think of yourself as leader and CEO and devote at least a month to sketching out the strategies and tactics you’ll use to create the career and life you’ve always wanted. Here are six key points to incorporate into your planning so you can make a successful launch:
- Know your action steps, and take the first one quickly. Whether it’s a new job or losing 20 pounds, it isn’t enough to simply want the changes you seek. To turn your dreams into reality, you need to take action. In fact, a study by my company, The Reinvention Institute, found that the longer you merely think about reinvention, the less likely you are to actually make it happen. So start by identifying the goal you want to achieve and make a list of the specific action steps that will get you there. Then pick one and get started immediately–even if it’s not the “right” one, it’s much easier to correct your course once you’re in motion.
- Tap into an external source of motivation. It takes a lot of energy to push yourself into new territory. Relying solely on internal motivation depletes your energy reserves, and when you run dry, you’ll be tempted to abandon your plans. To stay the course, enlist a “personal trainer” (a friend or a coach) who will hold you accountable for making consistent progress on your reinvention and push you when you want to give up.
- Know your internal barriers. During the reinvention process, you’ll face both external and internal hurdles. External hurdles are barriers that can be conquered by taking clear action steps; for example, if you need more training or new contacts, you can take classes or network on-line. Internal hurdles are more insidious: they are self-defeating beliefs that may show up as truisms (“I’m too old to reinvent myself”) or that you may not even realize exist (“I don’t deserve to be happy”). If you’re taking the right actions to overcome external barriers but not getting results, take an honest look inside to uncover which hidden belief systems might be blocking you and work through them so you can move forward.
- Enlist others. A CEO needs a strong team to successfully launch a company’s strategic plan; likewise, you’ll need a winning team behind you to successfully launch your reinvention. Assemble your lineup of resources, including mentors to advise you; a coach to motivate and strategize with you; and a circle of like-minded people to keep you focused and inspired. You’ll make more rapid progress towards your goals if you regularly enlist your team’s support.
- Make a long-term commitment. As women, sometimes we believe that if we push harder we can get results more quickly. But this strategy doesn’t work in reinvention–in fact, forcing the timeline can end up delaying your goal. Don’t try to reinvent yourself in a month or even three; instead, give yourself at least a year to enact change. Work on your hurdles and weave consistent action steps from your game plan into the fabric of your life. Tap into your external sources of energy and your “dream team” to help keep you on course.
- Be willing to transform. In order to create the life you seek, you must be the type of person who can live the life you want. Make your inner growth a top priority in your reinvention plan. Be willing to give up excuses and make sure your attitude and actions match your vision.
As with any business, your plan will need fine-tuning and adjustments along the way. But by incorporating these six keys into your strategy, you’ll be off to a great start to launching your reinvention and creating the kind of work and life